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NCAA Certification

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NCAA Certification FAQs

What is NCAA certification?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, a voluntary organization that governs intercollegiate athletics, oversees the accreditation process. It aims to ensure a commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics among Division I schools. The member institution conducts a self-study that examines policies and practices in these areas: academic integrity, governance and rules compliance, and student-athlete welfare. A self-study is submitted to the NCAA, which selects a peer-review team to visit campus to verify information in the self-study.

To view a flowchart of the NCAA certification process, click here

How often does it occur?
It occurs once every 10 years for Division I institutions.

Has Fresno State been through this process before?
Fresno State is participating in its second self-study this year (September 2007-May 2008).

When did NCAA certification begin?
Certification was tested in 1989 as part of an NCAA pilot program and was approved for all Division I institutions in 1993.

What are the benefits of NCAA certification?
Among its benefits, the program helps keep open the affairs of Athletics to the university community and public, sets standards for operating Division I athletic programs, assists universities in improving their athletics departments and allows universities to be eligible for sanctioned Division I competition.

What is the timeline of Fresno State’s review by the NCAA?
A steering committee is guiding the activities of subcommittees that are gathering data and drafting the self-study, a process that takes several months.  Monthly meetings of these committee will continue through April.  Fresno State will then submit its Self-Study Report to the NCAA on May 1, 2008.  We will host a NCAA Site Visit in Fall of 2008, and our report will be reviewed in January of 2009.  A final decision on Fresno State’s certification status will be made public by the NCAA most likely in Spring 2009. 

To view the timelines of Fresno State’s plan for certification, please click here.

What does the self-study involve?
The self-study will describe how Fresno State meets the NCAA standards (called operating principles) in three basic areas: academic integrity; governance and commitment to rules compliance; and commitment to equity, student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship. The report will also include plans for improvement where appropriate in the three areas.

Who on campus is involved with the certification process?
NCAA certification calls for a broad-based campus involvement.  

For a complete list of those participating on the NCAA Steering Committee, please click here.

What are the possible outcomes of the certification?
The NCAA has three certification decision options:

  1. Certified: operating in substantial conformity with NCAA operating principles.
  2. Certified with conditions: operating in substantial conformity with the NCAA operating principles but full certification is withheld until identified problems are corrected.
  3. Not certified: not operating in substantial conformity with NCAA operating principles, and identified problems are considered so serious or pervasive that action must be taken by the institution before it can even be conditionally certified. (Institutions that are not certified may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships. Ultimately, the institution’s NCAA membership status may be affected).

What if a school doesn’t meet certification standards?
Institutions that fall short of meeting NCAA standards during the certification process must identify opportunities for improvement and are given ample time to implement them. Institutions that neglect to make an honest effort to improve can face serious consequences, including ineligibility for NCAA championships and removal from the NCAA.

Where can I go for more information on the process?
The NCAA has set up a Web page that serves as a clearinghouse for the certification program. To go to the site, please click here.

Still have questions?  Contact Dr. Paul Oliaro, Chair, NCAA Certification Steering Committee.  (559) 278-2541 or poliaro@csufresno.edu

Source: Some of the information contained in this FAQ’s page derived from the University of Northern Colorado’s Web site http://www.unco.edu/ncaa/ncaa_certification/faq.html